Thursday, July 4th marked the 243rd anniversary of the United States declaring its independence from England. To commemorate this defining moment in our nation’s history, Muscatine hosted a number of public celebrations.
No Fourth of July Celebration would feel complete without a parade. With beautiful weather and lots of planning on the part of the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GMCCI) and local residents, this year’s parade made a splash. Intent on competing for the GMCCI’s prestigious Best in show award, more than ten floats entered this year’s parade. From a jungle, to a hot air balloon like tent, to the Field of Dreams, this year’s parade floats showcased the boundless creativity of Muscatine’s residents.
After careful consideration, the GMCCI awarded Zachary Group’s Statue of Liberty themed float Best in Show, awarding the float’s distinctiveness and patriotism with $500. Also of note, Mayor Diana Broderson presented her Mayor’s choice award to First Presbtyrian Church for building a giant Lego figure and church on their eye catching float.
More than just a collection of floats, Muscatine’s Fourth of July parade featured many other groups, including cyclists on vintage bikes from Harper’s Cycling and Fitness; performers from the Muscatine High School marching band, color guard, dance team, and cheer team; classic cars, and horseback riders. To celebrate these outstanding groups, the GMCCI gave out Best in Show trophies to Tasia Behnke for having the Best in Show Horse, and to a Cadillac Convertible for Best in Show Car.
With perfect weather, a large crowd, and many exciting entries, Alicia Bull of the GMCCI felt the parade could not have gone any better. “I just think it’s cool to see how it all comes together. It’s neat how people give up a little bit of their time to make this community tradition happen,” she shared.
Later in the evening, the GMCCI kept the celebration going by hosting a reading of the Declaration of Independence. A way to remember what publicly started America on its journey towards becoming its own county, Greg Jenkins, President and CEO of the GMCCI, felt this part of the day’s events helped keep the reason for the holiday in people’s mind, and unified Muscatine with the many cities across the country celebrating the Fourth of July.
Following the reading of the Declaration of Independence, the Muscatine Symphony Orchestra put on their annual riverfront concert at the Red Brick Building (Pearl City Station). With a wonderfully varied selection of music, conductor Brian Dollinger lead audience members through an enjoyable set of music. With fan favorites such as Journey, Bugs Bunny, and Starwars medleys, along with patriotic staples such as the 1812 Overture, people with all musical tastes enjoyed this outdoor entertainment. “We’re so thrilled to bring this concert every year to the beautiful riverfront,” stated Dollinger.
Amidst the fun of the evening, Dollinger, a veteran of the Marine Corp, found many ways to honor those who served our country. These included recognizing all who have fought for our country by playing the hymns of each branch of the armed services and the score from the World War Two focused TV show Band of Brothers. In reflecting on these opportunities to honor his fellow service members, Dollinger said, “what I love about m job is I can say thank you every day,” elaborating that he feels music can offer a subtle way to thank veterans.
Muscatine finished its Fourth of July celebrations with an awe inspiring fireworks show over the Mississippi River. Though these traditions, Muscatine found time to celebrate America, and all the ways making up a part of that country help Muscatine thrive.